The 2013 Accenture Global Consumer Pulse survey revealed that 66 percent customers across the world made a switch to another brand or business just because of poor customer service. This clearly indicates that if businesses want to retain a huge base of loyal customers, they must improve customer experience even if it requires them to revisit their strategy for the New Year. What are the trends in customer service for 2015? Following is a list that should be considered by businesses to bring positive changes which will enhance their service and improve the overall customer experience.

Customer Service via Video

Today millions of people across the globe are using Skype and other platforms to have a live video interaction with their friends or loved ones. We have also seen video conferencing being used by companies for business prospects. Video technology provides another channel for customers to connect with a customer service representative for support. In fact, some forward thinking businesses have already started providing customer service to their customers via webcam.

Amazon’s Mayday service is an example of this. The renowned company has integrated a Mayday button in its Kindle Fire HDX tablets, which allows the owners to have a face-to-face video interaction with an Amazon representative via webcam. According to 2014 publication of Amazon, the experience is so seamless that 75 percent of the Kindle Fire HDX tablet owners have now started using the Mayday button to connect with a representative. This service is available throughout the day and the response time is said to be less than 15 seconds.

Video Customer Service is also being used by some banks which allow customers to video chat at the ATM machine. The customer is automatically connected with a bank representative who helps out the customer.

Mobile Customer Experience

The trend of turning to the internet for shopping needs and product information is on the rise with the growing number of smartphone users. The 2014 On Device Research has reported that 90 percent of mobile users in Saudi Arabia and UAE used mobile phones to check prices, reviews of products and asked for their friends’ opinion etc. while they were in-store. This clearly indicates that the retail industry will continue to be strongly impacted by the use of mobile and it will drastically alter the shopping experience. To meet the challenge, businesses are required to provide a seamless digital experience that can satisfy the tech savvy generation.

As mobile will continue to dominate this year, companies need to make it easier for customers to access information on products and services on their handheld devices. Businesses will also be pushed into the direction of developing mobile responsive websites which deliver great customer experience.

Use of Innovative Technology

Stiff competition across industries has forced nearly every business to invest in technology. Businesses need to start thinking beyond the traditional lines and look towards adapting new technologies that offer more value to the experience of customers.

The example of Virgin Atlantic Airlines can be taken. In order to create a more personalized experience for customers on Virgin Flights, the airline equipped its staff in the Upper Class lounge of Heathrow Airport with Google Glass. This allows them to identify and welcome the passengers by their names when they approach, and provide them with updates on weather and events at the destination. It also informs the airline staff about the personal preferences of the passengers such as dietary requirements etc.

Effective Use of Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of customer service in a very short time. A large number of companies are now offering support to their customers through this medium. Lithium Technologies 2014 survey revealed that 53 percent of all customers expect a response to their Twitter query in less than one hour, while in case of complaints the figure goes up to 72 percent.

While response time remains an important factor, it is also important to effectively use social media. It is still a common practice that in response to a customer’s query, businesses post “Call us” or “Call Our Helpline” for more details. This is a poor approach because many customers get agitated by this. Customers expect the answers right there and then through the same medium. Service has to be made instant and easy for them. If there are certain details which have to be delivered over the phone, than good service would require that the company should ask for the customer’s number and have a representative call and explain.

Customer Reviews Make a Difference

What your customers say about you and your service matters. The internet has made customers well aware, since it has become a primary source for them to gain information about anything. Whether they are looking for a restaurant to have dinner at, booking a hotel for their next vacation or going for a spa treatment, they will read up reviews before making a purchase decision. Online reviews are of great value for both customers and businesses, as they describe what people think about a business, service or product.

It can be judged from Cone Trend Tracker’s 2011 study which reported that 89 percent of the customers believe online reviews of various products and services are trustworthy. The research also revealed that 80 percent of the customers have decided not to buy a product or service, solely on the basis of negative reviews they found online.

The survey also divulged that 85 percent of the customers said they won’t mind buying a product or service that has positive online reviews. This shows that when it comes to a customer’s buying decision, customer reviews really make a difference. Therefore, businesses must keep a track of online customer reviews and learn about their shortcomings and how to offer better service or products in the future. Once you are able to make your customers happy, it will automatically start reflecting in online reviews.